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Billboard's #1 Pop Singles


Max

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Sorry not to reply - I know you put a lot of work into these. I've never been a big fan of Don't Be Cruel (it annoys me as overly stylized). Hound Dog is a lot of fun, especially for dancing.

Carl, no apology is necessary. You have zero obligation to comment on a song that doesn't interest you. Honestly, I'm thrilled that I am even getting any responses to this thread at this point (given that I'm covering 50's songs).

Thank you so much for acknowledging the work I put into these write-ups. However, it pales in comparison to the tons of work you do when it comes to sharing old soap articles and educating us about soap history. Please note your hard work is very much appreciated, and that you are an absolute treasure to SON.

When "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley knocked "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" out of the top spot, it marked one of the very few times in chart history when an artist succeeded himself at #1. "Love Me Tender" spent the following five weeks at the peak position: the weeks ended 11/3/56, 11/10/56, 11/17/56, 11/24/56, & 12/1/56.

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"Love Me Tender" was an adaptation of a Civil War ballad called "Aura Lee." In addition, "Love Me Tender" was the title of Presley's first movie (this film, which also starred future Capitol cast member Richard Egan, opened on 11/16/56). Interestingly, Elvis' lifelong dream was not to be a music star, but to make it big in acting.

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I didn't make my entrance into the world until 1961 but I've always loved the music of the 50's (honestly, I should have been born in the big band era because that's my favorite kind of music.). I hadn't seen this thread before now, Max and you've done an outstanding job so far. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the rest of the 'countdown'. ;)

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I'm not a huge Love Me Tender fan either (it's a little slow and dreary).

What are the other times an artist knocked themselves out of #1? I'm sure the Beatles did.

Love Me Tender is the movie that was one of his more notable, because it was so early on, and one of the few where he died - after this they made sure it never happened again.

Richard Chamberlain also had a hit with this song, as this was the era when every TV name but Lassie had a record contract.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Me_Tender_%28song%29

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I like Love Me Tender alot... I'm a big lover of what another friend of mine calls "Quaalude sonatas", I love slow ballads very much. I will say I like the live version from the 68 special better than the recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab78lD_LApM

This live version is exactly what this song needed... him loosening up on the vocals, and taking more adlibs.. the lush orchestration and soaring background vocals make this version so much better than the record. Welcom to the thread, Becki... i'm a huge music afficionado, so I want this thread to go on forever (I just may suggest in a few months after we run through the billboard #1's.. that we start on the UK #1's... some interesting comparisons there)

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"It's Now Or Never" is one of the finest Presley songs. On the other hand, "Love Me Tender" is just too slow-paced for my tastes; the 1968 "live" version is a nice improvement.

What are the other times an artist knocked themselves out of #1? I'm sure the Beatles did.

In 1964, the Beatles had three consecutive #1 hits with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," and "Can't Buy Me Love." After that, it would not be until 1994 when an artist would knock itself out of the top spot, when Boyz II Men had back to back #1's with "I'll Make Love to You" and "On Bended Knee." Since that time, succeeding oneself at number one has become a much more frequent occurrence, with Puff Daddy, Ja Rule, Nelly, OutKast, Usher, T.I., and the Black Eyed Peas all accomplishing this feat. (Although for most of the aforementioned artists, at least one of their two consecutive chart-toppers was a collaboration with another artist.)

(I just may suggest in a few months after we run through the billboard #1's.. that we start on the UK #1's... some interesting comparisons there)

Alphanguy, I think that this would be a great idea for a thread. My only suggestion is that you (or somebody else) may want to start such a thread soon, because--at the rate I am going--it will take far more that a few more months to complete this thread; more like two to three years!!! (I think that I'll stop this thread with the last #1 song of 1999, though I may stop it sooner.)

I didn't make my entrance into the world until 1961 but I've always loved the music of the 50's (honestly, I should have been born in the big band era because that's my favorite kind of music.). I hadn't seen this thread before now, Max and you've done an outstanding job so far. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the rest of the 'countdown'. wink.png

Becki, thank you so much for your very kind words, and I eagerly look forward to reading your insights on the hits to come. By the way, I completely agree with you about wishing to be born in an era before my time, as I was not born until 1980. Also, 1961 could very well be my favorite year in pop music history.

Elvis' reign at the top was finally ended by "Singing the Blues" by Guy Mitchell (the final chart-topper of 1956). This lively tune--which was one of the most popular songs of the 50's--spent nine weeks at number one: the weeks ended 12/8/56, 12/15/56, 12/22/56, 12/29/56, 1/5/57, 1/12/57, 1/19/57, 1/26/57, & 2/2/57.

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Mitchell had been scoring pop hits since the early-50's, but "Singing the Blues" was his first #1 hit. The singer's real name was Al Cernick; Mitch Miller did not feel this was a marketable enough name, so he used his own first name (as part of the last name Cernick would use) and combined it with the fact that Al was "a nice guy."

Marty Robbins had a #1 country hit with the original version of "Singing the Blues." (Mitchell's version was a cover.) In January 1960, Robbins would finally have a #1 pop hit, while Mitchell would have his second chart-topper a month earlier.

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Max.... I'll start the UK thread when we finish with this one, just consider it a date! And if it takes two years to finish this one, that's fine with me! I can talk music till i'm blue in the face...but I also want to save something for later, too. Guy Mitchell... that song is ok... never really did much for me, but I got say, he looks a little posessed on that record sleeve, doesn't he?

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Max.... I'll start the UK thread when we finish with this one, just consider it a date! And if it takes two years to finish this one, that's fine with me!

That's awfully kind of you to be so patient, Alphanguy. But, please don't feel committed to waiting so long; you can feel free to start this awsome thread at any time.

The first of fifteen "new" chart-toppers of 1957 was "Too Much" by Elvis Presley. The record spent three weeks at number one: the weeks ended 2/9/57, 2/16/57, & 2/23/57.

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While "Too Much" is a good tune, I really don't think that it deserved to peak at #1. IMO, the song's excellent chart performance was mostly due to the fact that Elvis was at the zenith of his popularity at this time.

Here's some useless (but fun) Presley trivia: He was a truck driver when he made his first recordings, and the only subject he ever failed in school was music. And shortly after "Too Much" fell from #1, Elvis purchased Graceland from Thomas and Ruth Moore; this Memphis mansion was named after Ruth's aunt, Grace Toof.

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I've never heard that song before...

Despite its chart position, "Too Much" is one of Elvis' more obscure songs.

Yeah... Too Much did nothing for me, either. I would ahve been getting tied of Elvis by this point, but I wasn't alive then, was I? LOL I think it just depends how much you liked someone... becuase Abba was so huge when I was a kid, and I never got tired of them.

While this is hard to believe, Abba was far less popular in the U.S. than just about anywhere else. (As a result of this, Abba considered America to be its only failure.) In fact, Abba only had a single #1 hit in the United States: 1977's "Dancing Queen."

I never heard the Mariah Carey/Boyz 2 Men song referenced earlier. Radio really lost a lot of its influence with the demise of top 40. Now everything is so fractured, there are so-called #1s you never even hear.

The only reason why I heard of "One Sweet Day" was because it made headlines back when it set a new record for longevity at #1. (It's a decent song, but not one that I particularly care for.) Sadly, beginning in the 1990's, there was a lot less diversity (in terms of music styles) on the pop charts (as you indicated above).

"Too Much" was succeeded at #1 by "Young Love" by Tab Hunter. "Young Love" spent four weeks at the top spot: the weeks ended 3/2/57, 3/9/57, 3/16/57, & 3/23/57.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BvMacW25O38" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Unfortunately--and I apologize for this confusion (as I am not all that familiar with this song)--I believe that the tune you heard above was not the version that went to #1 back in 1957. Rather, it was a re-recording made by Hunter in 1961. (When I went to look for this song on YouTube, it wasn't quite clear if this was the '57 recording.) I believe that the recording below is the one that was so popular in 1957; please note that its sound quality is very poor.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/SL-HEXslB50" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Anyway, regardess of which of these tunes you listen to, neither one is the original version of "Young Love." This song was first recorded and released by Ric Cartey, but his version completly flopped. Then, a cover version was recorded by country singer Sonny James; James' "Young Love" was a huge hit, peaking at #2 in very early 1957. (IMO, James' version--which was the first time in the history of rock when a country song crossed over to become a smash hit on the pop chart--was superior to Hunter's.) Very shortly after James' version was released, Tab's initial recording of "Young Love" was made. When Hunter's "Young Love" went to number one, it would become the first of a small handful of singles in the rock era to first peak at #2 but to then soar to #1 when covered by a different artist.

Tab Hunter's real name is actually Arthur Kelm. He was much more famous for being an actor than a singer, and became one of rock and roll's first "teen idols." (Given his limited singing talent, his only other top 20 hit was "Ninety-Nine Ways," which reached #12 later in 1957.) Tab had to endure rumors of his homosexuality throughout his career, and in 2005, he came out of the closet. Hunter is currently with his partner of 30+ years, Allan Glaser; previous boyfriends included Anthony Perkins (who is bisexual) and figure skater Ronnie Robertson.

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Now, Max... this is bizarre... but I Iistened to top 40 radio from first memory until the age of about 25, and I have NEVER heard Tab Hunter's version of this song. I admit, the only way I knew Tab Hunter was his co-starring role in Polyester. Sonny James' version is played all the time here, even to this day.

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